Not So Obvious Wastes That Kill Productivity

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in Energy Utilization, human resource utilization, safety | 0 comments


There are many wastes beyond the more common ones of transportation, inventory, motion, waiting, overproduction, over-processing, and defects that hurt your productivity and efficiency.  In this post, I’ll address some of the ones that I’ve seen in many organizations.


In this day and age it’s hard to believe that employee safety is still a concern.  When you think about it an organization that allows its employees, or worse, forces employees to work in unsafe conditions is not a place you should even consider working at.  Here are some of the issues I’ve seen over the years:

  • Missing guards on equipment
  • Equipment pinch-points
  • Lack of personal protective clothing
  • Employees not forced to wear safety glasses, shoes, hard-hats when required
  • Spilled water or oil on walkways
  • Icy parking lots and walkways
  • Low light levels in metal stamping areas
  • Heavy containers that are manually transported
  • Safety concerns with tow motors using employee walkways
  • Cords draped across machines or on the floor
  • Failure to follow proper lockout procedures when working on equipment
  • Riding on the forks of tow motors, hand trucks, etc.
  • Cluttered work areas
  • Running in aisle ways or hallways
  • Unidentified chemicals in bottles, cans, etc.
  • High carbon dioxide levels due to faulty tow motors or gas heaters
  • Polluted air due to clogged and dirty air filters in exhaust systems
  • Unsafe work practices
  • Lack of security
  • Horseplay

All these issues rob employees of the safety they expect and deserve when employed by an organization and should not be allowed.  The safety and well-being of all employees must be the primary goal of every organization!

Lights, Heat, and Power

People do a lot of things at work they’d never do at home.  Some of the things I’ve seen are:

  • Leaving lights on in storage rooms overnight and over weekends
  • Water left running in sinks
  • Leaky faucets, commodes, and air lines
  • Leaving windows and doors open
  • Computers left on overnight and over weekends
  • Space heaters left on overnight and over weekends

They might not seem like much individually, but taken together they add up and cost the organization plenty over a years time.

Human Resource Utilization

This may be the biggest waste of all!  Not engaging employees and using their know how and ideas to make the workplace better is a real crime.  It robs the organization of one of its best assets, the human mind, and best of all it comes at almost no cost.  Ask any employee what they would do differently in performing their job and you’ll typically get a good list of ideas to make the job more productive and efficient.  Your employees are engaged in all kinds of activities outside the workplace.  They are coaches of sports teams, members of clubs and organizations, engaged in their children’s school system and are leaders within their place of worship.  People want to be engaged and make improvement in what they do.  Don’t rob them of this opportunity!


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